To make the change on energy and environment that President Obama wants will require intellectual capital. I am just starting to see the inflow of that talent into the federal service. During the past 2 weeks, two very capable young people have joined the Department of Energy's international office in very senior positions. In discussions yesterday morning with one of these political appointees, I asked if he needed talented young people. He said, of course, as we have to staff up his office. Yesterday, senior officials at EPA were confirmed by the Senate. They will now begin hiring too.
The point is as the Obama Administration fills its 9,000 Schedule C political positions that there will be a need for the best and brightest out of our graduate programs on energy and environment such as the ERB Institute at the University of Michigan to consider public service now. When I was in my twenties I joined the Federal Energy Administration (predecessor agency to DOE) and worked on getting the lead out of gasoline with EPA since there were concerns about gasoline shortages. Of course, the industry was crying wolf, and there were no shortages caused by lead phase down. But the point is that I had much valuable experience early in my career. The same is true today. We need the new talent to join the federal service in order to make the transition to the green economy. The modus operandi is put some years into DC and then rejoin the private sector or non profits. That experience is invaluable, but the need is now!